Even as the slowdown affects most industries, some enterprising farmers in the districts of Uttara Kannada and Shimoga in Karnataka are smiling all the way to the bank by farming orchids. This expensive flower, whose popularity lies in its long shelf life and vivid colours, is being marketed in cities like Delhi, Goa, Mumbai and Bangalore.
In the Malnad region of Uttara Kannada, towns like Yellapur, Sirsi and Siddapur are best suited for orchid cultivation due to the good rainfall and humid climate it enjoys.
In Shimoga, farmers are cultivating a strain of orchids from the ‘phalenopnex’ family (grown in pots), while Uttara Kannada specialises in the cultivation of dendrodiums. Dendrodiums fetch between Rs 4 and 6 per stem and a pot of phalenopnex fetches between Rs 800 and Rs 2,750 for farmers. “Goa is the best local market as farmers get Rs 4 for a stem compared to 60 paisa in Bangalore,” says an orchid trader.
- Karnataka has nearly 20 units for orchid cultivation spread over 2,002 hectares of land
- The cost per stem for orchids is between Rs 2-10 (varies with variety)
- The cost of farming is Rs 1 lakh per 1,089 sq. ft. of land